Hampton Court Palace
Travel through over 500 years of rich royal history reflected in the palace's varied and stunning mix of Baroque and Tudor architecture. The winding corridors, lavish State Apartments, expansive Tudor kitchens, immaculate 60-acre riverside gardens and maze together make Hampton Court the oldest surviving Tudor palace in England. From the early 1500s when King Henry VIII's lavish re-decoration and extension transformed Cardinal Wolsey's country seat into a palace more than fit for a king, through to 1996 when fires ripped through the King's Apartments, Hampton Court has undergone a raft of changes. In 1689 King William III commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild the palace. Thankfully, lack of money and time prevented total demolition of the building and Henry VIII's Tudor palace remains to this day - a testimony to the estate's original and most celebrated owner. The palace also houses one of the most important works of the Italian Renaissance - Andreas Mantegna's 'Triumphs of Caesar'. This formidable sequence of nine paintings is on permanent display in the Lower Orangery. No trip to Hampton Court is complete without a visit to the world's oldest and largest vines, a stroll around the glorious formal and informal riverside gardens and a tour around the world-famous trapezoidal maze - part of William III's Wilderness Garden and the oldest surviving hedge maze still in use. A revolutionary audio installation brings the maze alive for visitors. Using fragments of music, snatches of laughter, the seductive rustling of fine silks and snatches of covert conversations the audio installation brings to life an age when the maze symbolised an opportunity for secrecy, subterfuge and seduction.
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Hampton Court Palace
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